Neckarsulm, 15 March 2019 – In the fiscal year 2018, Bechtle AG wrote the next chapter of its impressive success story. Revenue rose 21.1 per cent to €4,323.3 million. Earnings before taxes (EBT) went up 18.7 per cent to €193.2 million. The EBT margin amounted to 4.5 per cent. Bechtle thus further expanded its leading position in the European IT market. As of the end of the year, Bechtle had 10,005 employees, an increase of 1,652 or 19.8 per cent. In view of the outstanding business performance, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board propose to raise the dividend for the fiscal year 2018 from €0.90 to €1.00.
The revenue growth was broadly supported by all regions and segments. The international trading business in particular underwent significant growth, also due to acquisitions. However, Bechtle also achieved impressive organic growth of 15.8 per cent, the second-highest organic growth rate since 2002. The growth remained in the two-digit range throughout all quarters. Further into the year, the dynamics got even better. With an increase of 26.4 per cent, the fourth quarter recorded the highest growth rate.
Numerous Milestones Reached
Besides the excellent business performance, the 35th year of the company’s history was marked by important milestones for Bechtle AG. To finance the acquisition of Inmac WStore, the largest of the 89 acquisitions performed by Bechtle to date, a bond loan was successfully placed for the first time. In December 2018, Bechtle passed the 10,000-employee mark, and in the same month, the company published its ambitious long-term plans in its Vision 2030. ”In many respects, 2018 was an outstanding year for Bechtle. The success achieved represents a sustainable basis for our continued profitable growth,” says Dr. Thomas Olemotz, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bechtle AG.
System House Business Continues to Grow, Mostly Organically
In the IT System House & Managed Services segment, Bechtle achieved mostly organic revenue growth of 15.5 per cent to €2,906.3 million in the reporting period. The very wide range of services – e.g. in the fields of hybrid cloud and multi-cloud concepts, modern workplace and data centre architectures, networking, security and application solutions – fuelled a noticeable surge in demand. EBIT went up 10.1 per cent to €126.1 million. The EBIT margin thus amounted to 4.3 per cent.
E-Commerce Reports Remarkable Growth
In 2018, revenue in the IT E-Commerce segment grew 34.5 per cent. The acquisition of Inmac WStore in France had a noticeable effect on this development. Organically, the revenue increased 18.8 per cent. With an overall increase of 46.4 per cent and organic growth of 24.2 per cent, the growth was especially strong abroad. Despite the higher depreciation and amortisation due to the acquisition, EBIT increased 38.7 per cent. The EBIT margin improved to 4.9 per cent.
Robust Key Financials
As a result of the acquisition of Inmac WStore and its financing, a number of KPIs have shifted slightly. Nevertheless, Bechtle still has a very robust equity ratio of 43.6 per cent. At €250.9 million as of the end of the year, the liquidity also remains at a very comfortable level. As of the balance sheet date, the cash flow from operating activities climbed to €140.5 million, a figure significantly above the prior-year figure of €54.3 million.
Optimistic Outlook on Challenging Fiscal Year 2019
Since the beginning of 2019, the macroeconomic framework conditions have become gloomier. Nevertheless, the Executive Board is optimistic about the current year. The revenue and earnings are again expected to undergo very significant growth. The EBT margin is expected to reach at least the prior-year level. “In view of the developments in the first few weeks of the current fiscal year, we are confident that we will achieve our ambitious growth targets for 2019 despite the increased uncertainty and economic worries,” says Dr. Thomas Olemotz.